Should the pump operator stay at the engine or wander around the scene? I'm asking because one of our people has a habbit of setting the engine and walking of. We are a volunteer department and have two engines with the computer operated pump. Supposedly set your pressure and watch. We lost prime momentarily the other day and he was at the rear of the engine away from the panel(top mount). Seems that if you are not at the pump when something happens you stand a good chance of either screwing up a pump or getting someone hurt. This is why we have the top mount so the operator can watch the fireground.

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Even in the three man badn they have to leave sometimes. Like I have stated several times and no one has given a straight answer to. What if your officer anf firefighter are inside and a victim presents themselves on side A and your the only one there to rescue them? You still think its ok to just sit at the panel and ignore them? What if its one of your brothers calling a mayday? You still just gonna sit at the panel.

Im not advocating running around for the sake of running around, but whats more unsafe leaving the pumper to accomplish critical fireground tasks, or ignoring obvious problems cause your "pumping"
Robert what you are suggesting is a rare anomaily at best. Most of the time a RIT team or a second team will handle the mayday. What you are talking about is freelancing pure and simple. If you see a victim on side A and you think you can get them out being away from the truck for a few seconds or very, and I mean very, limited manpower, then sure go ahead. If someone calls mayday though, unless you are told by your IC to go in and he will handle the pump, then you sit at the panel. I know of very, and again very limited, situations where a mayday would be called before IC gets to the scene. Another reason to stay with the truck is in case the truck gets in trouble. What if the wind or fire changes and the place you parked, either due to the situation of the driveway or changes in the structure, is no longer safe and the truck starts taking a lot of heat? I'd feel better knowing that the pump operator was there and able to use the deck gun to protect the truck than elsewhere. And yes the pump operator needs to be able to see the fireground for that very reason. If you park your rig 75' feet from a two story house and you have collaspe in your direction, the radiant heat has the potential to burn your rig unless you are there to open the deck gun. Seen it happen. I don't leave the pump unless IC tells me too and he usually takes over or has someone else take over. PERIOD. Don't freelance and what you, Robert, are talking about is just that, freelancing.
Robert , as I have said before be it you are a 2 man band or 3 man band if that situation ever arises I will say this bluntly trucks can be replaced life cannot do what you have to do. I'm not telling you to leave the panel just telling you do what you feel you have to do.
So rescuing people, namely your brothers is free lancing???? I never said I was going to make entry into the occupancy. I did say that if my crew was interior and we were the only unit on scene then I would give them water, secure my water supply then try and make the building safer for them by throwing ladders or removing security bars until someone else arrives to do it. Or if I was standing by the panel and a victim presented themselves to me then I would go rescue them (which I and several of our engine drivers have done with great success).

So if thats free lancing then I guess Im a free lancer. We take calculated risks to save saveable lives. If your not willing to do that then I say your doing the wrong thing in my opinion.
If I am the Pump Operator....I do NOT leave the panel.....ever (unless relieved by another pump operator per the IC) The people inside have their trust in me that I will keep their last defense (water) coming to them as needed and I will not let them down.......and if I am inside and something happens to my water supply and I find out the Pump Operator had left the panel.....well there had better be some people nearby to witness the murder that I might commit.......LOL
In many places the RIT staffing isn't there for several minutes into the incident.
If a Mayday happens in that situation, you can't wait on the arrival of additional resources to staff the Mayday response.

There are no absolutes, and especially if water supply is established, it is OK for the pump operator to throw ladders, perform outside vent, or get a backup line ready, depending upon the situation and the officer's orders.

Everyone here seems to be using what is the norm for their department. Remember that what is normal for your department may never be the situation for another department.
Paul,

I thought that the pump was what keeps water going to the attack line.

If you have water supply established and the pump is operating properly, what are you going to do at the pump panel to keep water flowing besides keep your hands off of the controls?
Make sure that it KEEPS water going to the attack line.......
from the sounds of it. He opened a discharge to fast causing the loss of prime. the tank should ALWAYS stay full just incase something happens to the the water source. that gives the operator time to fix the problem or notify the IC your running on tank water and to get them out. the pump operator is responsible for the entire function of the engine and it's contents. When I am operating the engine I know what is going on all around it each discharge line and all tools, saws being warmed up, for the roof operations and so on. I also know what is going on with the panel at all times. If you came over and messed with my panel while my back was turned I would be bull shit. the pump operator has an extremely important job and can cost lives if they screw up so if they can't do more than one thing at a time then they need to stay at the pump and let someone else handle the tools and stuff like a junior great job for them.
Ok brothers seems though we've gotten alittle off the subject water flows and pressures. The question is Should the operator leave the panel?, whether it is a top, side or rear mount panel. Ok heres a poll.

Should the operator leave the panel?

Should the operator NOT leave the panel?
Wow. My question to you is why is the officer not taking care of this potentially dangerous situation? Pump panel, watch your water, know if there's any issues, be available if someone needs an additional line. Old pump, maintaining pressure on each line (newer pumps have governors, but still need to be watched, lines need to be feathered, etc).
I think your question should not be if it's okay to wander off, because I think you know that is a problem. Your question should be what to do about it.
Speak to him, try to resolve the issue. No luck, speak to your Capt. No luck, as Capt to speak to Chief. Know that this is a SERIOUS concern and should be dealt with promptly.
That's crazy!!! Especially when you say the word habit along with it.Once is inexcusible but habit that's not good at all.This guy needs to be either not be allowed to be a pump operator or he needs to be set down by the cheif and remind him what the 100 things that could go wrong with the truck and the people at the other end of the hoselines if there was a problem arise while his taking a little sight seein tour.Bout the furthest he should go is maybe to the cab of the truck but no further.

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